More maternal deaths and injuries occur in the U.S. than any other developed nation. The vast majority are preventable. In this country, already the most dangerous in the developed world in which to have a baby, South Carolina has one of the worst track records when it comes to women’s health during childbirth. The state ranks in the top ten in the most maternal deaths and the most maternal harms.
The hospitals and doctors often blame the victim’s age, weight, and socioeconomic status of the woman giving birth. But as more research comes out regarding these incidents, including about two deaths every day, it seems negligence on the part of the healthcare provider could have much more to do with these incidents than a woman’s personal history.
The two leading causes of life-threatening incident when it comes to childbirth are blood pressure and blood loss. When a mother’s blood pressure becomes too high before, during, or after delivery, there’s a chance of serious complications like a stroke. When she begins losing too much blood her internal organs could shut down or cause a number of other life-threatening issues. Neither of these issues are particularly difficult to detect, nor do they necessarily correlate to a fault of the mother’s, but hospitals across the country are still failing to make sure their patients have what they need to prevent life-threatening cases. They could be weighing bloody pad to measure their patients’ blood loss, measuring their blood pressure and prescribing medication for it when it gets too high, and taking a number of small steps to prevent disaster. But they aren’t.
Part of the reason it’s so hard to make large-scale changes to the way childbirth is handled in America is that the medical community has to come to a consensus that their current methods aren’t enough and they need to implement new techniques to save these mothers. Doctors and nurses who’ve been working for years, who have experience watching these kinds of stories unfold, don’t necessarily want to change the way they treat patients, or they sometimes don’t even know of these new medical advancements.
In other developed countries, it’s often easier to get new standards of care implemented because they have a universal healthcare program. When all hospitals are publicly funded they have to abide by all the new, agreed upon techniques the government wishes to implement.
In the U.S., doctors and nurses are freer to treat how they please. That freedom, however, might come at the price of negligence and treatment methods that harm new mothers across the country.